National Security Decision-Making and Electoral Politics: The Case of the 1992 Sale of F-16s to Taiwan
NATIONAL WAR COLL WASHINGTON DC
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This paper applies Graham Allisons bureaucratic paradigm to the Bush administrations 1992 sale of F-16 aircraft to Taiwan and, in so doing, attempts to illustrate the models utility as well as its limitations in explaining the national security decision-making process. The National Security Council NSC staff, Defense Department, and State Department were split over the proposed sale -- a reflection of the differing policy preferences and organizational perspectives of the players from those agencies. But these interagency deliberations, on which the bureaucratic model focuses its analysis, had little impact on the Presidents decision. Instead, as this paper will argue, electoral considerations, specifically, the perceived political consequences of large-scale worker lay-offs at the F-16 production facility in Texas, a key state for George Bushs reelection campaign, were decisive in leading the President to approve the fighter sale. The F-16 sale, which was preceded by intense lobbying by the planes manufacturer and members of Congress, demonstrates that the context of national security decision-making is broader than the executive branch bureaucracy, and that domestic political and economic factors often intervene in the process.
- Attack and Fighter Aircraft
- Economics and Cost Analysis
- Government and Political Science